Ask Your Trainer: What’s the Deal with Fat?

We get a lot of questions about fat, how to cook with it and what types of oils are okay. Here’s Emily to answer all of those questions….

What oil should you be cooking with?

This depends on what method you are using to cook your food.

When you’re cooking at a high heat, you want to use oils that are stable and don’t oxidize or go rancid easily. What does this mean?

When oils undergo oxidation, they react with oxygen to form free radicals and harmful compounds that you definitely don’t want to be consuming.

The most important factor in determining an oil’s resistance to oxidation and rancidification, both at high and low heat, is the relative degree of saturation of the fatty acids in it.

Saturated fats have only single bonds in the fatty acid molecules, monounsaturated fats have one double bond and polyunsaturated fats have two or more.

It is these double bonds that are chemically reactive and sensitive to heat.

Saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are pretty resistant to heating, but oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats should be avoided for cooking.

Alright, now let’s talk about each type of cooking fat specifically.

The Best Options:

Coconut Oil

When it comes to high heat cooking, coconut oil is your best choice.

 Over 90% of the fatty acids in it are saturated, which makes it very resistant to heat.

This oil is semi-solid at room temperature and it can last for months and years without going rancid.

Butter

Butter was also demonized in the past due to its saturated fat content.

But there really is no reason to fear real butter. It’s the processed margarine that is the truly awful stuff.

Real butter is good for you and actually fairly nutritious.There is one caveat for cooking with butter. Regular butter does contain tiny amounts of sugars and proteins and for this reason it tends to get burned during high heat cooking like frying.

If you want to avoid that, you can make clarified butter, or ghee. That way, you remove the lactose and proteins, leaving you with pure butterfat.

Make sure to choose butter from grass-fed cows. This butter contains more Vitamin K2, CLA and other nutrients, compared to butter from grain-fed cows.

Olive Oil:

Studies on olive oil show that despite having fatty acids with double bonds, you can still use it for cooking as it is fairly resistant to the heat. So using olive oil for sautéing, and frying is fine. Perhaps the best use is for dipping, sauces, and dressings.

Make sure to choose quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It has much more nutrients and antioxidants than the refined type. Plus it tastes much better.

Keep your olive oil in a cool, dry, dark place, to prevent it from going rancid.

Avocado Oil

The composition of avocado oil is similar to olive oil. It is primarily monounsaturated, with some saturated and polyunsaturated mixed in.

It can be used for many of the same purposes as olive oil. You can cook with it, or use it cold.

What is the best cooking spray?

The best option is instead of buying a prepackaged can, acquire an oil misters and use olive oil. This even works for baking.

Callie Durbrow

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